Posts Tagged ‘Metropolis’

Metropolis for Sale

March 22, 2012

Would you believe that a German 3 sheet of Metropolis, the classic 1927 silent sci-fi film by director Fritz Lang is up for auction? Yes, it is true. It is being sold at Movie Poster Exchange.Com. You can click on the website name to go to the page where the poster is being sold. How much is it being sold for? Would you believe $850,000?

Darn, these things always have to go on sale before the Powerball hits $75 million. Kidding aside, I know, this entry seems more than a bit ironic considering last week’s entry dealt with not falling for the hype that surrounds the news of pop culture items being auctioned off for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Metropolis auction shows another side of the issue. Namely, if you are going to buy a pop culture or movie related item with the hopes it will appreciate in value, you need to get something with a track record of increasing auction and sale prices.

Metropolis is a good example of this.  The last time a Metropolis poster when up for auction was 2005 and it sold for $690,000.  Before the 2005 auction, a Metropolis poster sold on eBay for $200,000. As you can see, Metropolis prices have gone up each time it sold. Yet, before you run off to buy a Metropolis movie poster, there are three important things you should know:

1)    These were original theatrical posters that were sold. Meaning that these were posters that hung in movie theaters and survived all these years.

2)    Metropolis is a very rare movie poster. There are only 4 known to exist.

3)    Don’t expect to find an original Metropolis movie poster at a flea market or in an older relative’s closet.

While Metropolis has a history of increasing sale prices, the only person who got this poster for a steal was the theater employee in 1927 who decided to take the poster home, instead of throwing it out, after the movie’s initial run. Think about, if a movie poster sells for $690,000 in 2005, wouldn’t it make sense that it would sell for more than that in 2012.  Yet, as great as it is that Metropolis has appreciated in value, it is important to note that movie posters that sell for six figures and up are out of reach of the average person.

“Well what about the movie posters from today’s films?” You must be asking. “They are available at a reasonable price. Won’t they sell for big bucks 20 years from now?” That’s hard to say. Case in point, the film Citizen Kane is considered one of the gems of American cinema and it is listed at number one on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) Top 100 Movies list. When it was released in 1941, it bombed. Now imagine you are a teenage movie theater usher in 1941. The manager tells you to get rid of the movie poster for Citizen Kane because its run is over. You throw it out without thinking twice about it. Fast forward to 2006, a one-sheet movie poster (27 x 41 inches) for Citizen Kane sold at auction for $60,000. Who would have guessed in 1941 that a film that bombed would be so revered and its poster so valuable? The answer is few to none. So, don’t go picking up movie posters for Cowboys and Aliens thinking it will become the Citizen Kane of the 21st Century.

Still, if you like Cowboys and Aliens and get a movie poster from the film, don’t let the idea that you may not be able to trade it in for a mansion and a yacht take away from your enjoyment of the poster. After all, space and the American West are both frontiers, so it was only a matter of time before someone put them together. Too bad it didn’t do well in theaters. Also, Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig are kind of cool looking. (But not as cool as Matt Damon!)

Sources:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/metropolis-poster-record-leonardo-dicaprio-298114

http://movieposterexchange.com/buy.php?mode=key_search&keyword=metropolis

http://www.afi.com/100Years/movies10.aspx

Heritage Magazine Fall 2008 “Remember When…1941” Pg. 8

Some Video Stars Aren’t Dead Yet

September 29, 2011

True confession time. I don’t subscribe to Netflix. (Gasp!) I don’t rent DVD’s from Redbox. (Shudder!)  I when I’m in the mood for a watching a movie at home, I go to my local library. The library near where I live has a great selection of movies, children’s DVD’s and old television shows. Blame it on Tower Records & Video (R.I.P.), which was also located near where I live. When I went to Tower for a video to rent, lots of times I didn’t know what I wanted to watch until looked around and found something that caught my eye. Memorable rentals from Tower include Logan’s Run, Batman Returns, The 6th Day, Family Man and even an episode of Nova that dealt with the restoration of the Sistine Chapel.

Unfortunately, the video store is an endangered species. In 2001, there were 25,000 video stores in the U.S. By 2010, the number of video stores went down to 9,900. Still, there are a few hold outs and here are some notable ones:

Video Connections
Just when I thought that all the Mom and Pop video stores were eaten by Blockbuster and other chains, I read about this one store in Vancouver, Washington, that is alive, well and has a vigorous client base. Why? Simple, as the chains have fallen, independent like Video Connections have filled the niche of those who want to rent a DVD today but aren’t exactly looking for the latest release. It also helps the independents that they aren’t restricted by the 28-day waiting period that movie production companies have imposed on Netflix and Redbox for new-release rentals. So, they can get titles in sooner than the current DVD rental behemoths. Let’s forget that helpful staff members and free popcorn helps to bring people in, as well.

Twilight Video
No this store isn’t dedicated to all things Twilight. It is another independent video rental store in Washington state. (Why does Washington state have all these independent video stores?)  The store has over 3000 titles in stock and rents games, as well as DVD’s. If you want to own a DVD, Twilight also sells new and used titles. There are also snacks for sale, so you can watch your favorite film without having to starve.

TLA Video
TLA stands for Theater of the Living Arts and this started out as an experimental theater group in Philadelphia in the 1960’s, then evolved into a movie theater that played art house films and classics like Metropolis and Black Orpheus. In the 1980’s as VCR’s (that stands for videocassette recorders in case you are not a member of Generation X or older) became more popular, they branched out into the video rental business. While TLA had popular films, like Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, it didn’t forget its roots, since it had a great selection of foreign films and independent films. In fact, the business was so successful that the movie theater closed and management turned its focus to video. In its heyday, there were six stores in the Philadelphia and one in New York City.

Yet, unlike Video Connections and Twilight Video, the bricks and mortar part of TLA’s business is closing and it video library will soon be available online, both as physical DVD’s and as streaming. Call me an old fashioned rube, but I felt sad when I heard TLA’s stores were closing. I often visited a TLA store in Bryn Mawr, PA (a Philadelphia suburb) and found the selection to be better than Tower Records & Video and the staff to be very friendly and knowledgeable. So, I wish the staff of all TLA’s stores well, wherever life takes them.

So, there are some physical locations were you can rent a DVD from real live people. If only there were more of them. Oh well, there’s always the library.

Sources:
http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/aug/27/people-still-like-to-rent-video-by-hand-people-sti/

http://www.twilightvideorentals.com/

http://www.tlavideo.com/company/aboutus.cfm?v=1&sn=3809&g=0

http://articles.philly.com/2011-08-11/news/29876641_1_tla-video-video-stores-movie

Most Expensive Movie Posters

December 10, 2010

Have you ever wondered what the most expensive movie posters are? Well, here’s a list. Study it and mention it at cocktail parties where you can amaze your friends and confound your enemies with your superior knowledge of pop culture. (ha-ha)

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Heritage Galleries in Beverly Hills recently held an auction and the poster from this film was expected to sell for over $700,000. The bids failed to make minimum, so it didn’t sell. The poster is known as Style E. It is all red with Frankenstein’s monster sitting in a chair and bound by chains. The headline of the poster states, “I demand a mate.” The tagline of the poster is “Who Will Be the Bride of Frankenstein? Who Will Dare?” Of course, in the movie, the bride took one look at the monster and screamed. The monster then imploded the castle, killing the bride, him, Dr. Frankenstein and the good doctor’s assistant. Talk about a bad first date. FYI: A movie poster of Frankenstein sold at auction in 1993 for $198,000.

Dracula (1931)
It is not surprising that a poster Dracula, starring none other than Bela Lugosi is not far behind. An original poster sold in 2009 for $310,700. Remember, these two things when it comes to Dracula:
1) Dracula doesn’t drink—wine.

2) As far as I’m concerned, vampires aren’t sexy.

Metropolis (1927)
This silent film was directed by Fritz Lang and is a science fiction classic. It was the most expensive film made of the silent era and there are only four posters from this movie known to exist. One of these posters was auctioned off in 2005 for $690,000. (Psst, I really like this poster. Does anyone know where I can get a reasonably priced version?)

King Kong (1933)
This film’s claim to fame, other than it featured a big ape that fell from the Empire State Building, was its special effects, which were advanced for its time. Well, a poster from this film was sold at auction in 1999 for $244,500. I wonder how many bananas the person who won the auction had to sell to get the poster?

The Mummy (1932)
This film, starring Boris Karloff as the title character, (the poor guy, he was often typecast as the monster) sold in 1997 for $535,000.

Flying Down to Rio (1933)
This is one of the few non-horror movie posters to command big bucks. How big? It was sold in 2008 for $239,000. Yet another FYI: This movie featured the first on screen pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers.

The Black Cat (1934)
This movie’s claim to fame was that it starred both Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Two posters from this film were sold recently. The Style B poster sold in 2009 for $334,600. The Style D poster sold in 2007 for $288,800.

So, there you have it, a nice list of movie posters that brought in big bucks. Still, despite the high prices that these posters commanded, I will continue recommending that people not purchase movie posters as investment vehicles. I do recommend that people purchase movie posters because they like the poster for whatever reason, be it the design, the genre or the actor/actress featured. You rarely go wrong when you buy something that you like.

To see pictures of the posters mentioned are featured in this article, click here:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/news/coming-soon-a-film-poster-to-break-all-records-2127352.html?action=Gallery.

Sources:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/news/coming-soon-a-film-poster-to-break-all-records-2127352.html

http://mubi.com/notebook/posts/2576

What Lurks In Your Walls Or Some People Have All The Luck

October 20, 2010

As I have stated many times before, I love the Antiques Roadshow[1].  I especially love hearing the stories of how people happened to find their treasures. Usually people find things at yard sales, estate sales, tucked away in an attic, a basement, a closet or even curbside. Well, not too long ago there were two people who found treasures in their home that would astound the appraisers at the Antiques Roadshow.

First there’s Blair Pitre of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. He bought a turn of the century bungalow and started work on renovating it.  As he was tearing down the walls, he found movie posters from the late 1920’s/early 1930’s featuring actors such as Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin and Joan Crawford. This is an important period in the history of motion pictures because the industry was transitioning from silent to talkies. The previous owner, an 80-year-old woman who died in 2009, was the granddaughter of an early twentieth century movie theater owner in Pitre’s town. As to why the posters were in the wall, most likely she used them as insulation and never thought that they would be worth anything. Pitre had the posters auctioned off to help pay for renovation of his house. One poster, Bulldog Drummond, a drama from 1929 sold for $9,000. Pitre hopes to find more posters in his home. In particular, he is hoping to find Metropolis, since that poster is worth a million dollars.

Next there’s retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Martin Kober. For as long as he could remember, a painting of the Virgin Mary crying over the crucified Jesus has been in his family.  Family lore said that the painting was a Michelangelo. The item hung over the sofa of his parents home, until the day when the younger Kober threw a tennis ball and knocked it off the wall. His parents then wrapped it up and kept it behind the sofa. When Kober retired in 2003, he decided to research the history of this painting. One expert, Antonio Forcellino says that the painting is a actual Michelangelo painting, another expert, William Wallace says that it isn’t. Forcellino bases his claims on his expertise as a restorer, as well as the painting’s similarity to a drawing Michelangelo did that is now at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Wallace states that while the piece is impressive, it was not done by Michelangelo. So, who’s right? Time and more examination by experts will tell.

Still, what I want to know is why are Pitre and Kober so lucky? How come their treasures were right under their noses and all that’s in my walls is insulation and all that is behind my sofa are dust bunnies? This inquiring mind wants to know.

Sources:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/movie-guide/Lost+found+Vintage+movie+posters+fetch/3300921/story.html

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/10/12/new.york.painting


[1] Antiques Roadshow is the American version of the BBC television show of the same name that airs on PBS. This show has people bringing their antique and collectible items to appraisers and the appraisers tell them if their items are worth anything. Sometimes the items are worth something and sometimes they aren’t.